Tag Archives: children’s

Book Review: The Warden’s Daughter by Jerry Spinelli

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers Published Jan. 3 2017 352 Pages
Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published Jan. 3 2017
352 Pages

Cammie O’Reilly is the warden’s daughter that lives in an apartment above the entrance to the Hancock County Prison. Although her father is active in her life, she is missing her mother. A mother, who saved her only daughter from harm. 

Known as Cannonball, Cammie is about to turn 13 years old and is looking for a mother figure within a shoplifter and a reformed arsonist of a housekeeper. Going through the motions while her best friend begins playing with makeup, Cammie has no idea everything she has ever known or thought of is about to change in the most dramatic way. 

Short Review*

I had issues with this book. The first being Cammie. This is a difficult time in her life and she is learning to find herself, HOWEVER, she is a spoiled brat that is completely selfish and treated one of her mother figures like crap just because she didn’t get her way.  Let me give you an example, you have a housekeeper that you like but you do not like when you are told to do something by them because they are a housekeeper. So you proceed to call her out on it and remind her who she works for. That is Cammie. I get she is a child but she is a child that thinks everything out before she does it. Things like this happen all the time in the book and I was frustrated with it.

The book overall was lackluster. I understand that it is a coming of age book, but almost nothing happens a majority of the time. The tone rarely changes; so everything starts to sound the same. I didn’t appreciate how the main characters was viewed. The book is set for 1959 until the end; so there are things that are to be expected but there were some things that cannot be overlooked such as the view of a black woman.

Beyond that, I felt that Cammie a an adult had no real remorse for what happen, for the life she affected and for the things that was done. I felt a sense of entitlement even after everything was said and done.

I did not enjoy the pace of the novel and I think because of the issues within the book, I lost the purpose of the story.


2 Pickles

Book Review: The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

Algonquin Young Readers Published April 25, 2015 240 Pages
Algonquin Young Readers
Published April 25, 2015
240 Pages

Corinne La Mer doesn’t fear anything; not even Jumbies in the forbidden woods. Jumbies are simply made up stories that parents use to keep their children out the woods, but Corinne knows better. 

But when Corinne notices yellow eyes staring at her at the edge of the woods. She begins to doubt her fearlessness. And when a beautiful stranger shows up at the marketplace and then her home with her father, Corinne knows that danger is near. 

Using her courage, the help of her friends and a ancient magic, she had no idea she possessed, Corinne must save her home and everyone in it. 

I really have a hard time finding good fantasy books for children (maybe YA) written by African-Americans. So, I jumped on this one purely based on the author and I wasn’t disappointed. This book was written extremely well that I would even recommend it for YA readers.

Firstly, characters. You knew from beginning and end that these were children. However, you didn’t feel the immaturity, even when the kids were acting a fool with each other. Corinne and her friends had a sense of wisdom about them that I didn’t feel was out of place. It fit them. They were kids but not reckless children trying to prove a point.

I loved how the author seamlessly tied mythology into the story without feeling like a history lesson. It was part of the culture, part of everyone’s lives and I loved how relevant it was in the beginning and end of the story. Also the author added something in there regarding history and I liked it. I was very surprised but thought it was perfect.

I enjoyed the pace of novel. However, at a certain point, the constant movement hit a plateau and I was stuck wondering if this was going to be end of my enjoyable ride. But it wasn’t. The pace began to build after this point and it did well til its descent at the end. Speaking of the end, it was great but it was a hard reality to swallow. I liked how the author did not shy away from the outcome because it is true. In real life and in every fantasy story, where the hero proves to be different it happens.

Would I consider this story horror? No, there is nothing exactly scary about it (even from a kids perspective) but it is deeper than just a fantasy story. You see how much a myth or a fable affects communities/cultures no matter what the generation is.


4 Pickles

Book Review: Nightborn (Thrones & Bones #2) by Lou Anders

Crown Books for Young Readers Published July 14, 2015 353 Pages
Crown Books for Young Readers
Published July 14, 2015
353 Pages

Karn Korlundsson has settled down since his adventures with Thianna. Life as a farmer and avid game player doesn’t require life threatening decisions. But when Thianna goes missing, Karn makes it his mission to find her.

Even if it means traveling to a distance city, deciphering the riddle of the horn and fighting elves.

If you have not read book one, here is my review.

Jumping right in, I enjoyed this book but compared to the first one, I didn’t feel the drive or intensity within the story. This book came across very laid back, even when fighting was happening. It didn’t feel like the end of the world. Where as in the first book, I was emotionally invested.

Also in the first book, it was more centered around both character equally but this book was all Karn and I don’t know if I like him. He came over cocky and a know it all. Even when he had his moments of doubt, he was just a bit demanding of things. He came off as a tool and it was completely different from who he was in the first book. Thianna didn’t change much and I was alright with that because she had a lot of growth in the first book.

I loved the fact that the author kept their relationship strictly platonic. It would really ruin the book if it turned into romance. They are good friends, best friends and that is the way it should stay.

Although I felt the story was laid bad, the pace was smooth. I didn’t feel as if the author was adding a bunch of fluff. Everything in the book fit. I loved how the book ended and how it leads to a book three. It was great. It didn’t feel short or out of place. The author knew what he was doing with the ending and I respect that.

I recommend this series for kids getting into fantasy and for adults wanting a break from the romance in YA. Overall,

3 Pickles

Book Review: Pursued by Gary Urey

Albert Whitman & Company To be published Feb. 28, 2017
Albert Whitman & Company
To be published Feb. 28, 2017

For thirteen year-olds, Axel Jack and Daisha Tandala life cannot get anymore complicated. Running from  a billionaire, who killed their scientist parents for their device, the Geoport.

The Geoport, which can teleport any person to any place on Earth within a matter of seconds can be deadly in the wrong hands. As a dying wish from their parents, Axel and Daisha race to destory the Geoport. But when the two are separated, finding each other becomes just as important as in running for their lives. 

I am going to come out and say that I cannot give this book a rating. I can’t because I am so conflicted. There were a lot of good points in this book but then as an adult reading it there were issues. So I don’t believe it would be fair to rate this book as it is for children and I would recommend it for children.

Anyway, what I loved about this book was the diversity. It is a breath of fresh air to see authors use non-white main characters. It is just really good to see. I also loved the story and the intensity you feel once the story beings. You jump into the story instantly and I love that.

However, that intensity quickly dies down and it takes a bit too long for it to pick back up. I didn’t like the villain. Not because he was a villain but he was a brat and appears to be extremely childish. Axel and Daisha, two thirteen year-olds had much more maturity and I was not enjoying that. In my head, he had this real annoying, whinny voice that I couldn’t shake.

The pace of the novel was slow; even for a children’s book. Because of this, it was much harder to stay focused on it; therefore making it hard to finish. Do I believe my nieces or a young child would enjoy this? Yes and no. Because for a race against a billionaire with everything at his disposal it was slow. But it was a good book. Just not something I would read or any other adult should read.


No rating. 

Book Review: Song of the Deep by Brian Hastings

Sterling Children's Books Published July 12, 2016 176 Pages
Sterling Children’s Books
Published July 12, 2016
176 Pages

Merryn and her father live in a little cottage by the sea. Each and everyday her father goes out to sea to collect fish to sell and eat. And each and every day he returns home in time for dinner. One day he doesn’t come back and in a vision, Merryn see’s her father being dragged under sea by a dangerous creature. She knows she must save him.

Merryn builds a submarine and using the lullabies sang by her father, she looks for him.

*short review*

 This book got a bit of a low rating on goodreads and I don’t agree with that. This was a wonderful quick read and perfect for children. Merryn is 12 years old and I loved the fact that the author made her a mechanic/engineer of some sort. She loves building and fixing things and she does it really well. I love the creativity in this and the ease it provides her.

The story overall is really simple. It moves a bit slow but things pick up fairly soon. There isn’t stop your heart danger but again this is a children’s book. I do however wish this book was more whimsical.  I wanted more fantasy more mythology out of it. This book could have been longer and detailed.

As stated before the book was a bit slow but it also lacked some kind of intensity and passion as well. Merryn took things rather well for a 12 year old girl. It would have been nice to see more emotion and more of a relationship with her father.

I would also like to add that this book is a video game and although I haven’t had the chance to play it yet, I have heard a lot of good things about it. Overall, I would recommend this book for preteens and younger. It was a good one for the shelf.

4 Pickles

Children’s Book Review: The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Algonquin Young Readers To Be Published Aug. 9, 2016 400 Pages
Algonquin Young Readers
To Be Published Aug. 9, 2016
400 Pages

Once a year, the Protectorate leave a baby as a sacrifice to the witch that lives in the woods in exchange that she will not bother the town. But the witch, Xan, is nothing short of kind. Not understanding why the people of Protectorate do this every year, she brings the baby she finds to a family in the surround towns.

But one year is different. Xan finds a baby she is unable to let go and she feeds her moonlight instead of starlight and the child is filled with unfathomable amounts of magic. To keep, Luna, her new child safe, she locks her magic to be released when she is 13 years old. But when Xan is away the magic begins to release. 

At the same time a man from Protectorate, looks for the witch to save his people from the agony experienced each year. What is Luna to do when everything she comes to love is slowly slipping away. 

As a disclaimer, I need to say that if you are an Adult reading YA books, this book is not for you. This is for middle schoolers/children and it is written as such.

I am grateful that I was approved for the arc via Netgalley because this is such a cute, creative and entertaining read. I highly recommend it for children, who are getting into fantasy.

Its a detailed and complex story but not too complicated where someone will feel lost or feel as if something was missed. The pace was surprisingly great. I expected a slow book because it was a children’s read but also because Xan is the most self-sacrificing witch, I have ever read. She gives everything to Luna and to the people that sort her help. But what kept the book interesting was the switching of narratives. You move from Xan, Luna, the man looking to kill, a swamp monster named Glerk and a dragon named Fyrian. This kept the book interesting and I like that.

Luna, throughout the book, was still developing i.e. that is why this book is considering coming of age. Therefore, I will not dig deep into her personality. What I can say it the character development for her was done very appropriately. Luna was the main focus but she didn’t become the main character til closer to the end of the book. This isn’t a issue at all. Kudos to the author.

The book did take some time to get going and I also feel that there wasn’t enough intensity coming from the past. I would have liked more drama, considering Xan had a heck of a life; a little history would have helped as well.

Overall, recommended read for the kiddos.

4 Pickles

2016 Is Going to Be the Year of Harry Potter

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a new play by Jack Thorne, is the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. It will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband, and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes darkness comes from unexpected places. -Goodreads

NetGalley Review: Tell the Story to Its End by Simon P. Clark

St. Martin's Griffin To Be Published Oct. 20, 2015 208 Pages
St. Martin’s Griffin
To Be Published Oct. 20, 2015
208 Pages

Oli is has been taken from his home and with his mom moved to the countryside for the summer to live with an Uncle and Aunt he never met. Oli knows that everyone is keeping a secret from him especially since he hasn’t heard from his dad and his mom won’t talk to him about it. 

So Oil discovers a secret of his own; a creature in the attic. His name is Eren and he likes stories. Soon Oli is sharing his story and slowly discovers the secrets his family is hiding. 

Short review*

This book was painfully slow and although I understood why people thought it to be creepy, the creepiness didn’t last long at all.

When you met Eren that is when it is creepy and the thought of not knowing if he is real or part of Oli’s imagination makes it creepy but the book itself isn’t creepy. To be honest by the end of the book, I thought it was in Oli’s head as a way to cope with the fact that he was away from his home, his mother wasn’t really speaking to him and his father was gone.

I felt that the author was trying too hard to make this book more of a realistic horror than actually a book that makes you uneasy in your seat. I can’t say I enjoyed the book it was okay. I don’t feel the author was creative enough nor was the characters interesting enough for an adult let alone a child.

The cover offers horror, the title offers mystery but the book itself doesn’t offer anything. Other people love it I don’t.

2 Pickles